It seems that the holidays are keen on raising my blood pressure lately.
I’m sure you guys have been hearing about the UConn women’s basketball team, the Lady Huskies, and their win streak. Now, I don’t generally watch sports, but I do a good amount of surfing, and Shakesville did a brilliant post dissecting the reactions to the Lady Huskies’ streak being comparable to that of a men’s team.
So I did some more surfing, just by googling the team. Warning: no matter where you get your source for opinions on the Lady Huskies, don’t read the comments. The sexism will force you into a rage-induced coronary.
You may wonder: but Kat, you’re a writer! And you’re not into sports! And you’re a level-headed lady! Why do you care so much about this?
I tell you why I care: I’m fucking tired of the perception that something’s a “men only” field, and that somehow, there’s a limit to how good a woman can/cannot be in that so-called exclusive field.
And while I don’t give a hoot about sports and never have – and never will – what I do give a very major hoot about is the sexist lens through which all of this is presented. The basic fact is that the Lady Huskies are very good. They stand to break a record. You’d think people would say, “Hey, kickass!” But of course not, because they’re girls. And as such they can’t possibly be playing basketball, but they’re playing ladyball, which is not close to the Real Basketball that Real Men watch and play.
I only wish I were kidding. Check out this little gem by Mark Potash.
Hey, Potash, here’s a newsflash: it’s still fucking basketball, no matter what the genitalia of the players is.
For those not daring to click, he’s basically saying that the Huskies will not be able to tie/break the record for the simple reason that the record was set by a men’s team, and the Lady Huskies are not men.Again, I only wish I were kidding.
Honestly, isn’t it about time that the machismo factor stopped having any degree of bearing on skill? Or is that too much to ask?
Again, dear readers, you may ask me why I give a shit.
Let me explain this: as an author, especially as an author of urban fantasy/science fiction, I have to fight twice harder to be taken seriously for two reasons: 1. I’m writing science fiction and 2. I’m female. Let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago that it was considered that a woman cannot possibly be a good writer because she is a woman. George Sand is a classic example: she was a French author who got a major reputation simply because no one knew that she was a woman. I also recall seeing an article this past few months on bloggers, who take on a male pseudonym because otherwise, they cannot gain readership. No one would take their voice seriously on a specific topic because they are female.
And also let’s not forget about the six-year-old girl who was bullied because she likes Star Wars…and she’s a girl. That’s why she was bullied, matter of fact: liking Star Wars.
So this debacle on the Lady Huskies – why is it a debacle, seriously? They’re good. They’re good enough to tie/break a record. That’s the bottom line, whether or not the douchebag brigade that insists on the difference between basketball and ladyball likes it.
While we’re at it, a little moment from the seventies: Battle of the Sexes. This same debacle that we’re having now about basketball was about tennis at the time, and back then, just like right now, the popular statement du jour was that women cannot, simply cannot be good at this sport. And then enter Billie Jean King, who handed Bobby Riggs his misogynistic ass on the tennis court.
So, to end the sexism involved in women’s basketball, do the Lady Huskies have to hand some male team their asses on a silver platter? Looks like, because some of the commentary claims that a high-school boys’ team can beat them. Really now – whippersnappers who lack the training, discipline, and the competition that comes with college basketball? Athleticism alone doesn’t cut it in NCAA sports. There’s a lot more pressure, a lot more competition, and atop that cake there’s the cherry of a potential NBA draft. This, of course, is considering that the players don’t blow out a knee, maintain a requisite GPA, and don’t have a breakdown from the burnout. You don’t see that degree of discipline/pressure in high-school sports. You see high-school athletes praying, hoping, and crossing their fingers that they get to that stage.
Similar goes to writers of sci-fi. If you have a concrete plot, if you create a well-crafted story – whether singular or plural, far as story is concerned – and you’re able to keep your reader engaged, does it honestly matter whether or not you’re male or female? Or, in music, if you’re able to keep your audience on its feet, and coming back for more, does it matter whether or not you’re a girl who plays a “men’s” instrument?
The idea that women = humans = capable of the same skill as men should not be rocket science. Bottom line. Go ahead – I dare you to disagree with me.